The Eye is the Lamp of the Body
The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
Jesus understood how our psychology and our spirituality are intertwined. Our inner condition is reflected in the ways that we “see” other people and the world. When our inner life, our inner conversation, is filled with judgment, condemnation, cynicism, doubt, hate, fear, or other dark perspectives, we live in darkness. A continuous cycle forms that is justified and confirmed by the evidence both seen and created inside us. When we are in a state of fear we experience the world as threatening, or we might see things we don’t understand in another person as a threat. Our behavior pushes others away, and we are closed off from others. Our fear becomes a filter that both interprets experiences and creates them. Often this inner darkness results in the belief that we are evil or broken in some way. Others respond by looking and acting toward us with suspicion. Fear inside of us makes it difficult to know our personal boundaries, or the boundaries of others, so we shrink back in relation to the world. It is true there are threatening things in the world, real dangers, that should not be overlooked, so seeking balance is important.
When we are full of light, affection, innocence, trust, or other open and accepting perspectives, we live in light. We see good in the world and we understand that our essence is good. But there are problems that come out of this potential naiveté if we cannot see the truth of people and situations. The element that helps us keep a balanced perspective is truth. We must be honest with ourselves as well as honest with others when situations or people disrupt our balance and perspective. Through experience we come to know what we must own as our part of our created world, and differentiate this from what others have created in their lives. When and where to be open and accepting, or cautious and protective, must be learned through experience and the practice of wisdom.
Open us to wisdom and truth as we travel through this world, God. There are many shadows, much darkness, as well as light. Help us to discern from our experiences what we are responsible for and what things we can put aside. May we accept that the world responds to us with grace, with a power that enables us and empowers us to act in concern for others and at the same time protect us from evil. May the light of life and love inside of us be reflected in our eyes and may our intention for good be visible and a powerful reminder of your presence. Amen.
From The Readings
2012-68 Every human being experiences fear. And though Jeffrey, for much of his life, did not feel like he had fear, there is underneath many of his choices and many of his actions, different types of fear. From a very early time it is fear of acceptance, of being in a family that is different from his own sensibility—from being told, “You’re not like that” where his own experience is not acknowledged and understood as valid. And then from this trunk, many branches can grow, as from a tree. So from the fear of not being accepted comes a fear of not being good enough, or a fear of being wrong—all of these kinds of hurdles that have to be jumped over. The soul’s development has to move through and into these issues. And then there is the fear of not having control, and sensing or feeling or even thinking that others somehow have control over life circumstances. Jeffrey sometimes fears he does not, and he does not compare himself favorably to others. He knows that these fears have an illusory quality, meaning that the universe does not work that way—the ways that his fears would direct him. At the same time, he needs to remember that there is no illusion about the source and the consequences of fear. So the letting go or the trusting, the faith that wherever he is he will be able to live out his purpose, is an important step. And he will be able to live out his purpose no matter who the people are around him. It is also true that he has choices, but even the choices cannot alter his purpose and his own destiny that comes through his choices and his purpose.